From tougher judging to a vegan week: What to expect from this year’s Great British Bake Off

The bakeoff gang return to screens a week today. (Channel 4/PA Wire)

It returns to our screens a week today, and while we know to expect buttery, bakey goodness and puns just as great as the cakes themselves, what else is in store from this year’s Great British Bake Off? 

Paul and Prue will still be judging

Judge Prue Leith has said that appearing on the TV series has said it’s given her “street cred” in the eyes of her grandchildren, so it doesn’t look like she’ll be bailing from the show any time soon.

Chef and cookery writer Leith, 78, replaced Mary Berry on the programme’s judging panel alongside Paul Hollywood when it moved over to Channel 4 from the BBC.

Ahead of the show’s return next week, Leith revealed that she was being recognised more in public since her debut on last year’s series.

Leith joked: “I’m such an egotist, I love it! I can’t tell you what it does for my ‘street cred’ with my grandchildren.

“When someone stops me and asks me ‘Are you the lady on Bake Off?’, you can see the six-year-old thinking, ‘She’s my nan!”‘

A vegan round

Paul Hollywood has confirmed that the programme’s new series will see contestants take on a vegan challenge.

This year’s batch of bakers will for one week put eggs and flour to one side as they are tasked with creating something using ingredients that are in keeping with the animal product-free diet.

Explaining the decision, Hollywood said: “We wanted something different to represent what’s happening in this country.

“Veganism is something that seems to be growing. We wanted to represent that on Bake Off this year and that’s why it’s in.

“If you’re a vegan or you’re thinking about it and worried abut how it is going to change your life, watch it and see. Because it fascinated me and shocked me as well a few times.”

Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding will still be presenting

Comedian Noel Fielding and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig will both return to the programme’s famous tent as presenters, so we can still expect a chuckle alongside the baker’s efforts.

Hollywood also revealed that he and Leith drew inspiration from Toksvig’s Danish heritage for another of the show’s challenges.

He said: “We’ve covered different weeks over the years and I thought Danish week would be quite apt this year, especially with Sandi!

“So we did get back to Sandi and say ‘give us some ideas for some things we could use’. It was a great week actually.”

Prue is going to be a bit more critical

Thanks to getting more in the swing of things after the first season, Prue has said she’s going to be tougher on the contestants.

She said: “I think because I am more relaxed and a little bit more confident, I’ve been straighter. I’ve found it easier.

“Whereas last series I would tell them lots of things that are nice before I have to say anything nasty. Paul is always saying ‘Don’t say so much, just say it.”‘

Hollywood added: “You’re limited for time on Bake off. When you’re filming something you’re giving a critique and you can waffle on.

“All of our criticism is always constructive. That often gets cut, so what you hear is a criticism.

“It’s easy just to edit yourself down and say the good and the bad in one sentence.”

The Great British Bake Off returns to Channel 4 on Tuesday August 28 at 8pm.

Hollywood and Leith were speaking ahead of the start of the second series of the TV baking competition since its switch to Channel 4 from BBC One.